I am a big fan of holidays, especially the ones where themed foods are encouraged. I can always get down with a reason to create a celebratory treat! Here’s the thing though, holiday or not, I cannot turn off on my strong feelings around seeking healthy options, first.
I am definitely all about indulging every now and again, but I am a firm believer in our healthy choices fueling ongoing healthy habits and a ever present healthy lifestyle, all the rest of the days throughout the year when it isn’t a holiday. This means when it’s time to have fun and let loose, I still inherently find myself seeking an option that won’t make me feel terrible after I eat it or undo all the good I do the rest of the time. For me, it’s all about picking my battles and when possible selecting the right foods, the ones that have the power to heal and nourish my body, while still being fun and kitchy. When there is an option for something delicious, but still good for me, that will always be my first choice. #sorrynotsorry
I’ll just say it, I am slightly creeped out by artificially colored foods. There is something so unnatural about all these patriotic-themed treats I see floating around, loaded with chemicals and dyes, it just doesn’t feel very festive to me.
Mother Nature provides us with so many beautiful, vibrant hues, why not take advantage and celebrate with those instead. The bonus: richly colored plant foods are loaded with phytochemicals. These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide. Consider these phytochemicals, bright little disease fighters! Not only can we not say that about artificial dyes, but I would be we could say the opposite, in fact.
According to information from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances. And while research has not yet determined exactly how these substances work together or which combination offers specific benefits, including a rainbow of colored foods in a diet plan ensures a variety of those nutrients and phytochemicals.
Some have antioxidant properties and neutralize naturally occurring free radicals and protect cells from damage. Some plant compounds are anti-inflammatory and help normalize immune function. Still others induce cell cleanup, whereas others keep blood cells from clumping. Many of these processes result in reduction of blood pressure, preservation of vision, lowering of cholesterol, and protection from heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. 
OK so now that we are sold on a diet rich in vibrant plant-based hues, let’s get to the recipe. These gorgeous, subtly sweet, super healthy parfaits are loaded with some of my favorite things right now. The bottom red layer being a delicious gut-healing berry gelatin (AKA jello), one of my go-to options while I heal my gut! The white layer a tasty, omega-3 rich, energizing creamy coconut chia seed pudding. Top it off with some fresh blueberries and this antioxidant powerhouse of a dessert will have you celebrating your freedom, and your health, in no time!
Red White and Blue Berry Chia Parfaits
RED LAYER - Berry Gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon pasture-raised gelatin, I like this brand
- ½ cup boiling water
- 1 cup fresh, or frozen and thawed strawberries, hulled
- 1 cup fresh, or frozen and thawed raspberries
- maple syrup or honey, to taste, if necessary (or other sweetener of your choice)
WHITE LAYER - Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
- ⅓ cup white chia seeds
- 2 cups full fat organic coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, or other sweetener of your choice
- pinch sea salt
BLUE LAYER - Blueberries
- 6-8 ounces fresh blueberries
- RED LAYER: In a medium-sized bowl, add cold water and evenly sprinkle the gelatin over top, let sit a few minutes allow to bloom.
- Meanwhile add the strawberries and raspberries to your high speed blender and blend until smooth. Adding a little water, as necessary to get it moving. If your berries are more on the tart side, you may want to add a little sweetener.
- Add the boiling water to the bowl with the cold water and gelatin. Whisk well to combine, continuing to whisk until all lumps are gone.
- Add the gelatin mixture to the berries, blend another few seconds, until well combined.
- Add the berry mixture to your serving dishes of choice. I like to add a few strawberry slices to the bottom of each dish.
- WHITE LAYER: Add all of the ingredients to a large glass jar with a lid. Stir quick with a spoon, then place the lid on and shake it up good, to mix well. Refrigerate until thick and pudding-like, at least 4 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Once the gelatin and the chia pudding are set, spoon the chia seed pudding over the dishes with the set-up berry gelatin and top with fresh blueberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
 Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D., “Celebrate July 4th with Red, White and Blue food”, Mayo Clinic